Think before you click on a link, use a different password for everything, avoid downloading attachments from strangers and never access unprotected public WiFi or surf unencrypted websites.
Each year in August, World Internaut Day is celebrated to mark the invention of the internet; an internaut being a frequent internet user. If anything has become clear over the last decade, it’s that there are few people in the world who don’t have access to the internet, whether it’s to search for information, connect with friends or family or to work… In fact, according to Statista there are 4.66 billion active internet users globally, equating to almost 60% of the world’s population,
Are all of these internauts aware of the risks they are exposed to on the web? Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, provides the five commandments that every user must follow to keep their online life safe from cybercriminals:
- Think before you click on a link: Internet users are too trusting when surfing the web. Phishing attacks, where criminals impersonate well-known companies to try and steal your personal data, are increasingly common, especially now that devices store a large amount of user information. For this reason, special care must be taken with URLs sent via SMS or email, as they can be fraught with danger. To avoid becoming a victim, always go to the sender’s official website instead of clicking on the link in the message.
- Use a different password for everything: It is true that having to think of a different password for the platforms you use every day is a pain. It is hard to remember them, and it would be much easier to use the same one for everything. But there is no greater joy for a cybercriminal than to come across such a user. Any internaut who relies on a “one password fits all” approach could see all their accounts hacked in record time. Once an attacker manages to decrypt the combination of a victim’s platform, they will try to access all of their accounts with the same key. To avoid this risk, it is essential to create a unique password for each app or service of at least eight characters that combines letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
- Avoid downloading attachments from strangers: An email attachment from an unknown sender can be a gateway for all kinds of cyber-attacks such as malware or phishing attacks capable of infecting the entire device and stealing all the information and data stored on it. If, in addition, the device is used for teleworking or is connected to a larger network, it could cause more serious and more extensive damage.
- Never access unprotected public Wi-Fi: It is important to bear in mind that anyone, even a cybercriminal, can connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi. The main problem here is that by being on the same network, criminals can gain access to everything stored on your device. There will always be a risk when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, so it is better to think twice before doing so.
- Surfing unencrypted websites: It is vital to make sure that the website you are accessing has an SSL certificate. This technology ensures that the internet connection is encrypted and protects any sensitive information sent between two systems by preventing cybercriminals from viewing and modifying any data being transferred, including data that could be considered personal. It’s easy to spot it by looking at the start of the address line or URL which should show an “s” after the letters http. So only click when you know the site is genuine and you see: https://
“Making security a priority when surfing the internet is becoming increasingly important, especially as the number of cyber-attacks is increasing dramatically and evolving at a rapid pace. Right now most users store a lot of information and data on their devices, which could be put at risk if they access a fake website or click on a fraudulent link,” warns Ian Porteous, Regional Director, Security Engineering, UK&I at Check Point Software. “Being trained in cybersecurity and knowing the basic precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a cybercriminal is one of the best measures an internet user can take to keep their data safe.”